By Per Peterson
A pesky issue was back in the spotlight at Monday’s Tracy City Council meeting.
After hearing concerns from the Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce about what it was charged for renting the Veterans Memorial Center for this year’s Prairie Women’s Expo, the council held a lengthy discussion about the City’s fee schedule — a topic that got plenty of attention a year ago.
At issue for the Chamber was the fact that it was charged $400 for both Friday (set-up day) and Saturday, the actual day of the event.
According to Chamber board member Tara Brandl, the Chamber was notified it would only have to pay $200 for Friday and $400 for Saturday. Later on Friday, it came to the Chamber’s attention that anything exceeding two hours is to be considered a full day.
“I was on the council when we set the fees, but I do think that we have the price fairly high for events,” council member George Landuyt said. “I don’t remember the half day rate; maybe that’s where we can tweak this a little bit.”
Tracy City Administrator Erik Hansen said a Feb. 14 email from the City to the Chamber clarifies that there are full-day and half-day rates.
“Essentially, we have a rate for two hours for things like practices and things like that, and then we have a full-day rate — the fee scheduled doesn’t have a half-day rate,” he said. “Anything from the standpoint of the fee schedule of more than two hours is considered a full day. If you wanted to make some adjustments to these rates, you can certainly do that.”
Brandl said the Chamber has no problem paying fair rental fees, and also shared with the council that it did clean up and dispose of garbage after the Expo. The Chamber’s main goal, Brandl said, is to continue to work with the City on events that draw large crowds to Tracy.
“We need the City and the Chamber to work together, not just for the Prairie Women’s Expo but for all the events we have in Tracy,” said Brandl. “As a Chamber, we strive to bring people to town because it benefits the businesses and the community of Tracy. If we have to pay $400 per day for an event, many events will not be cost effective. If we host a potato bar or walking tacos fundraiser for Box Car Days in the VMC for two hours and have to set up and clean up, we would be over the two-hour, half day limit. At a cost of $400, we would not be able to raise any funds from the event.”
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.